The standard work meeting is a staple of the corporate world. Its goal is to keep everyone in the loop and foster communication. It’s important to Fortune 500 companies and startups alike but do meetings always work as well as they should?

Unfortunately, no.

There are people in the meeting who waste time setting up stuff and talking about matters not related to the main agenda.

Also, participants arrive late, which means that meetings begin late. According to a report from the British Psychological Society, 37 percent of meetings on average started late. When meetings become unproductive, it can cost the business money. The same report revealed that companies lose up to $37 billion per year due to unproductive meetings.

If you want a well-run and productive meeting, you’ll need to find ways to keep engagement high and eliminate time wasters as much as possible.

Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of corporate meetings:

1. Improve Your Facilitation Skills

You’re setting yourself up for failure if you don’t know how to facilitate people who will attend your meeting.

Look at facilitating as standing in the middle of a seesaw where you constantly balance between “controlling the process” and “encouraging participation.” Controlling the process too much will make the meeting feel constrained and discourage people from contributing ideas. On the other hand, tipping too far toward encouraging and you get a free-for-all discussion that wastes time.

Everything you do as the meeting facilitator, including what you say and how you act, either controls the process or encourages participation. If you want to learn how you could strike a balance between these two elements, take an online group facilitation training program to better understand your role as a facilitator and hone your skills.

2. Ban Distractions

Disallow distractions, such as mobile phones, tablets, and other tech gadgets, from your meetings, as they can prevent the discussion from moving forward. After all, you won’t be able to hold an effective meeting if the attendees keep staring at their personal electronic devices.

3. Consider Holding a Stand-Up Meeting

Casual corporate meetings are gatherings wherein attendees sit down and drink coffee or tea. Stand-up meetings, as the name goes, have everyone standing up. They’re short (because no one wants to stand up for prolonged periods). What’s more, the goal of this particular type of gathering is to delegate tasks for the day or week and share status updates.

If you can, hold regular stand-up meetings where everyone involved will participate equally. Feel free to use a whiteboard or a post-it board to give everyone a clear overview of what attendees need to do.

4. Establish an Agenda

Every meeting should have an agenda decided beforehand. If you receive a meeting invite and it doesn’t have an agenda, you should seriously consider saying “no” to that meeting, as you don’t know whether that gathering will be beneficial to you.

If you plan to hold a meeting, refrain from making up an agenda on the fly. You’ll have attendees coming into the meeting unprepared and uninformed if you come up with an agenda on the spot.

5. Set Time Limits

If you schedule a 30-minute meeting, make sure that this starts and ends on time. If your meetings often go beyond the scheduled time, chances are that you are not running them efficiently. If you are the meeting leader or facilitator, you’ll want to block out a fixed number of minutes for each discussion point and adhere to that limit.

6. Give Your Meeting Some Structure

Outline how your meeting will progress within your agenda topics. If you have a given topic, for example, you’ll want to present an overview of the issue or situation, go over any important information, discuss the data with your team and then make decisions.

When you take the time to structure your meetings, you’ll reduce the likelihood of going on tangents. Also, you’ll have a timely and productive meeting when you establish time limits for each step.

7. Have Your Audiovisual Systems Prepared

You should never waste several minutes of everyone’s time getting the hardware and software configured for your meeting. Have your audiovisual systems ready before the meeting begins.

8. Assign Someone to Take Notes

Some people are not keen on taking notes, as they assume that they will remember the details of the meeting later. This, however, is a problem, as attendees can forget the important info discussed. Before the start of the meeting, have someone take meeting notes and e-mail them to attendees afterward.

These tips will help improve your meetings considerably and prevent you from wasting time. When you make every second count in your company, you help boost productivity that can improve the bottom line of your business.